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YOU TOLD US: Downtown overdevelopment is a top concern, your views are reflected in city decisions & satisfaction with city services has gone up

You told us: satisfaction with city services is at an all time high, downtown overdevelopment remains the top issue (by a lot), most of you would support a tax increase to maintain or improve services, and you think your input and voice are represented in city decisions. Plus, 94% of you gave top marks for the city’s response to COVID-19. These are just some of the results of a statistically valid telephone survey recently conducted in Burlington.
City of Burlington Satisfaction Survey - overall

My Take: This council has worked hard to ensure resident input is reflected in our decision-making, that you get value for your taxes, and that we continuously improve our delivery of city services. Your responses to the community survey show we’ve achieved that –  together. Thank you! We’re also thankful you support our COVID-19 response. The last two years have been a roller coaster, but we’re riding it together, and doing a great job keeping each other healthy and safe. You also told us that downtown overdevelopment remains the top issue. This council has taken a number of steps to address overdevelopment downtown, including a revised Official Plan (approved in November 2020) that cuts highrises in half from the previous council’s plan, as well as working with the province to relocate the Urban Growth Centre and Major Transit Station Area designations downtown, which have been used to justify overdevelopment. We’ve protected Village Square by removing a proposed 17 storey highrise, protected heritage throughout the downtown by seeking heritage landscape studies, protected public service uses downtown (for example at the Reach Out Centre for Kids).  We’ll continue to do what we can within our powers to reduce overdevelopment downtown, and continue to advocate to other levels of government on those areas outside our control.

You told us: There’s been a 20% increase since the last term of council in residents feeling your input is reflected in city decisions-making; satisfaction with city services has significantly increased, downtown overdevelopment remains the top issue, most of you would support a tax increase to maintain or improve services, and you think your input and voice are represented in city decisions. Plus, 94% of you gave top marks for the city’s response to COVID-19. You also get more of your information about what’s happening at the city from your Mayor and Council (a 34% increase).

The consultants who conducted the survey said achieving a 95% satisfaction rate is not easy – and they’ve done this kind of survey for hundreds of communities throughout North America. During a presentation at committee, they commented, “You’re doing a phenomenal job… This is an excellent results overall and something to be proud of.”

These results have only been possible by listening and working with our community, and the hard word of staff in cooperation with council. It’s a true team achievement!

These are just some of the results of a statistically valid telephone survey recently conducted in Burlington.

Highlights of the 2021 community survey include:

  • 95% satisfaction with the overall quality of services in the City of Burlington. This has gone up since the last survey in 2019, and is the highest satisfaction rate compared to any of the previous measurements of resident satisfaction in the last 10 years.

City of Burlington Satisfaction Survey - overall

  • 89% rate Burlington as either an excellent or very good place to live; the highest rating in more than 13 years.

City of Burlington Satisfaction Survey - Rating as a Place to Live

  • 71% of respondents say they would support a tax increase to maintain current service levels.

City of Burlington Satisfaction Survey - Tax Rates

  • Fire Services, parks, sports fields and trails and festivals and events got top marks for satisfaction.

City of Burlington Satisfaction Survey - Service Area

  • Increased satisfaction in all areas of community engagement, including having enough opportunities to provide input, welcoming to public opinion in decision-making, using public input in decision making and decisions made reflect the voice of the majority of residents. Significant increases in these areas in 2019 compared to 2015 and 2021 continues to see positive growth.

City of Burlington Satisfaction Survey - Engagement Satisfaction

  • The Mayor and Ward Councillor are an increasing source of information for residents about city programs, services and initiatives (34% increase).

City of Burlington Satisfaction Survey - Source of Information

The survey also asked residents what one issue you feel should receive the greatest attention from your Mayor and members of Council.

By far the most frequent responses were around growth, especially overdevelopment downtown related high rises and the implications it might have on traffic congestion/traffic lights and transportation.

City of Burlington Satisfaction Survey - Top Issues

Additional issues raised include:

  • affordable housing/homelessness/poverty (this was mentioned 10% of the time vs 3% of the time in 2019) and economic development and infrastructure.
  • parks/nature/paths, public transportation, COVID-19 and climate change.

Parking management, bylaw enforcement and transit service are the top three areas for primary consideration that were deemed very important and are considered primary opportunities for the City to consider.

City of Burlington Satisfaction Survey - Priority Areas

The survey will be presented to the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee (CSSRA) Jan. 10,and for ratification at Council Jan. 18.

Read the staff report and full details of the study on the CSSRA agenda here: (Item 4.2)

The statistically valid community-wide survey was conducted by MDB Insight between September 13 and October 18, 2021 and reached 755 households, by cellular and landline telephones. The margin of error is  +/-3.6% with a 95% confidence interval.

The survey is conducted every two years to determine if residents feel they are being engaged and are part of the City’s decision-making process, and to guide decision-making and planning on city programs, services, and value for taxes, based on key issues identified.

The city has conducted a community survey since 1998, most recently in 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2021. The last three community surveys (2015, 2019 and 2021) included asking residents questions regarding communications and engagement with the City. The 2021 survey had some new additions including questions about the City’s response to COVID-19.

The 2021 survey cost $29,780 paid from the Strategic Plan funding in the operating budget.

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My Take: This council has worked hard to ensure resident input is reflected in our decision-making, that you get value for your taxes, and that we continuously improve our delivery of city services. Your responses to the community survey show we’ve achieved that –  together. Thank you! We’re also thankful you support our COVID-19 response. The last two years have been a roller coaster, but we’re riding it together, and doing a great job keeping each other healthy and safe. You also told us that downtown overdevelopment remains the top issue. This council has taken a number of steps to address overdevelopment downtown, including a revised Official Plan (approved in November 2020) that cuts highrises in half from the previous council’s plan, as well as working with the province to relocate the Urban Growth Centre and Major Transit Station Area designations downtown, which have been used to justify overdevelopment. We’ve protected Village Square by removing a proposed 17 storey highrise, protected heritage throughout the downtown by seeking heritage landscape studies, protected public service uses downtown (for example at the Reach Out Centre for Kids).  We’ll continue to do what we can within our powers to reduce overdevelopment downtown, and continue to advocate to other levels of government on those areas outside our control.

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Administrator

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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Phone: 905-335-7607
Email:  mayor@burlington.ca

Media Specialist: John Bkila
john.bkila@burlington.ca
905-335-7600